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This work centered on private enterprises and rural development in Anambra state. The objectives include: to ascertain the extent to which private enterprises have contributed to rural development in Anambra state; to find out the challenges facing private enterprises in rural development in Anambra state; to examine the measures to enhance participation of private enterprises in rural development in Anambra state.It is a survey type of research since it investigated what happened in the researcher’s absence. It is also explanatory in nature; having tried to explain the role played by private enterprises in Anambra state. In sampling, stratified random sampling technique was applied where the researcher created strata to represent different interests within the population. Also, purposive sampling was applied in the selection of the respondents, since only those who possessed relevant information could respond well to the researcher’s interview. In the same vein, data was gathered using primary and secondary instruments such as interview, books and journals. Content analysis was used to analyze the data gathered. Thus, the findings are that: private enterprises in Anambra state have not contributed to rural development through the provision of social infrastructure, though their presence in the rural areas of Anambra state has helped in solving the problem of rural-urban migration. They have provided employment as in the case of Innoson Nigeria Limited; poor planning, lack of managerial skill and lack of fund are among the challenges facing private enterprises in rural development in Anambra state; the formation of unions and associations by private enterprises, fair government regulations and cordial relationship between the private enterprises and the rural community are some of the measures that enhance participation of private enterprises in rural development in Anambra state. Finally, we recommend that: private enterprises should as a form of corporate social responsibilities, provide social amenities that will improve the living standards of the local people; there is need for sustained collaboration between government and the operators of private sector organizations by providing adequate incentive and the needed enabling environment to stimulate and foster the growth of the private sector organizations in Nigeria; rural populace should increase their efforts in patronizing the products and services of private enterprises in the rural area in order to encourage them to serve the rural people better and expand their ventures and bring development to the rural people.
1.1 Background to the Study
In mixed economies like Nigeria, there exist two sectors in the economy. These sectors in spite of the difference in their nomenclature, goals, mission and vision, do work hand in hand to maintain a healthy economy. These sectors include public and private sectors. The public sector includes all those agencies, organizations, institutions, etc. that are under government management and control. On the other hand, the private sector includes establishments, businesses, agencies, etc that are in the hands of individuals or groups.
In other words, Henry (2012:55) opines that the public sector is composed of governments, government agencies and government corporations. Implicit here is the fact that the public sector is directly under the management and control of government. The author goes further to maintain that the private sector includes profit-seeking companies. This underlines the fact that the private sector is profit-oriented; everything they do, they do in a bid to make profits on invested income.
Similarly, in the words of Marchetti (2007:6), the rural private sector includes a whole continuum of economic agents, ranging from subsistence or small holder farmers, rural wage-earners, livestock herders, small-scale traders and micro entrepreneurs; to medium-sized, local private operators such as input suppliers, microfinance institutions, transporters, agroprocessors, commodity brokers and traders; to other, bigger market players that may or may not reside in rural areas, including local or international commodity buyers and sellers, multinational seed or fertilizer companies, commercial banks, agribusiness firms and supermarkets. The author goes further to state that associations of farmers, herders, water users or traders also constitute an important part of the private sector.
Notably, a vast majority of Nigeria’s poorest people lives in villages and these villages are in a state of neglect and underdevelopment with impoverished people. The problems of hunger, ignorance, ill health, high mortality and illiteracy are most acute in rural areas. This is not only because of shortage of material resources but also because of defects in our planning process and investment pattern. Nigeria has the potential to meet these challenges in rural areas. However, the efforts of Governments may not be adequate to provide basic services to its citizens. It is being increasingly recognized that progress and welfare of a society is not only the responsibility of the Government alone, but many more stakeholders need to be involved to attain the development goal (Save the Children Sweden, 2007).
Nevertheless, the private sector has a pivotal role to play in ensuring that private investment flows to those rural areas that have been left out of the development process so far and also to work for sustainable development of rural areas in general. Over the past few years, as a consequence of rising globalization and pressing ecological issues, the perception of the role of private sectors in the broader social context within which it operates, has been altered. The private sector considers itself an integral part of society and accordingly acts in a socially responsible way that goes beyond economic performance Pradhan and Ranjan, (2010:139). As a result of this shift from purely profit to profit with social responsibility, the author goes further to posit that many private sectors are endorsing the term ‘Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)’. It is essentially a concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to the society to make it better and environmentally cleaner. Generally, CSR is understood as “the commitment of business to contribute to sustainable economic development by working with employers, their families, the local community and society at large to improve their quality of life, in ways that are both good for business and good for development. Thus, through social responsibility, or corporate social responsibility as some others call it, private sector organizations and enterprises contribute immensely and meaningfully to the development of, not only their host communities, but the rural areas at large.
Characteristically, rural areas are usually sparsely populated because many people leave rural areas to settle in urban areas for more facilities resulting in what scholars refer to as rural-urban migration. Rural society has homogeneity in its profession i.e. their only source of earning is agriculture and this is transmitted from generation to generation. They have low means of communication, slow rate of change because of lack of education and modern facilities and also simple culture transmitted from generation to generation (Farooq, 2012).
Bale as cited by Barrios (2007:8), defines rural development as including “the provision of social and physical infrastructure, the provision of financial services in non-urban areas, small-medium enterprises activities in rural communities and market towns that are more closely linked to the rural economy than they are to the economies of the larger urban cities, as well as the development of traditional rural sectors, such as agriculture and natural resource management.” The key elements that will facilitate the realization of rural development include social infrastructure, physical infrastructure, and financial services. The dynamics of these three elements will pave the way to uplift the living conditions of rural households. Observing events and issues related to such dynamics can facilitate the measurement of the constructs of rural development. It is also characteristic of rural areas that people enjoy strong relationships and interactions which act as a strong tie that bonds them together.
As noted by the Asian Development Bank Institute (2014), rural areas are characterized by isolation, lack or inadequate provision of basic amenities, inadequate health and social services. Isolation needs to be resolved to enable the other issues to be resolved. Therefore, rural development is a multi-dimensional process by which the productivity, income and welfare, in terms of health, nutrition, education and other features of satisfactory life of rural people can be improved upon or transformed (Obetta and Okide, 2012).
Rural development has scope that is broad and elastic, and it depends on the interaction of many forces such as the objectives of the programme, the availability of resources for planning and implementation, etc. In developing countries, such as Nigeria, rural development projects will include agricultural set-up projects, rural water supply projects, rural electrification projects, rural feeder-road and maintenance projects, rural health and disease control projects, rural education and Adult education campaign, rural telecommunication system, and rural industrialization. Based on the scope of rural development (as the improvement of the total welfare of the rural low-income people), the following objectives of rural development evolved:
a. To have greater commitment of the resources to the rural areas in terms of budgeting allocation and actual expenditure.
b. To ensure popular participation of the rural people in the identification of priorities, planning of programmes as well as their implementation.
c. To lay greater emphasis on the use of total resources and promotion of local skills.
d. To expand and improve on rural infrastructure such as roads, markets stalls, electricity, water and storage facilities.
e. To maintain political and social stability.
f. To create rural employment opportunities.
g. To increase commodity out-put and production and subsequently increase food and food supply as well as rural farm incomes (Obetta and Okide, 2012).
Generally, development is seen as process by which man increases or maximizes his control and use of the material resources with which nature has endowed him and his environment. Notably, private enterprises are agents of development in rural areas as well. These enterprises contribute in no small way to the development of these rural areas which are not densely populated. The private sectors in rural areas include various types of companies with various levels of formality, revenues, size and outreach. It has occurred to the knowledge of the researcher that in as much as government is not helping the private enterprises in the rural development, they have contributed much in the development of the rural areas.
According to Marchetti (2014:7), private sector has become the engine of growth in rural economies. With the growing trend since the late 1980s towards public sector retrenchment and greater reliance on market forces for most productive activities, it is now a well-established fact that the private sector has become the engine of growth in developing economies.
However, Anambra state as one of the notable commercial cities in Nigeria is occupied with different forms of economic activities. The latest trend is the emergence of private sector ownership or entrepreneurial activities. These emerged private sectors strive to bring more quality commodity, effective and efficient services deliveries which were all criticisms labeled against public sectors in Anambra state. The integrative strategy of the private sector stimulates them to put into consideration the taste and price of product that suits the desire of people in the state especially people at rural category. This enhances the rural development which had been neglected by the epileptic service delivery by the public sector. Private sectors in Anambra state seem to have taken the burden of providing job opportunities to jobless youths in the state. Based on this premise, this study intends to explore and critically evaluate the private sector in Anambra State and its impacts on rural development.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Rural Development was formerly a burden borne by the government and sometimes, though rarely, by communities via self-help. However, owing to the teeming nature of development needs of the rural populace and the ever-growing scope of government responsibilities, private enterprises now engage in rural development via corporate social responsibility. Therefore, the extent of such contributions in Anambra state needs to be identified and properly documented while suggesting strategies for improvement.
Over the years, Nigeria, like other developing countries, has adopted a private sector-led growth with emphasis on policies that will promote investment and industrial development Osemeke (2011: 178). Recognizing the leading role of the private sector organizations in economic growth does not necessarily mean that the nature of its role in fully understood. With so much focus on the role of the private sector throughout the world, there seems to be some obtainable issues that prevails or exist in private sector in rural development such as issue of Poor management practices and low entrepreneurial skills, Limited access to funds, Inadequate and deteriorating infrastructures support for example, electricity, water, road, etc. the key question to ask is how can the issues of private sector organizations be harnessed and managed to bring about economic growth and a sufficient quality of life to the people in rural areas. Providing answers to this question amongst others is the sole objective of this paper, and doing this is more important to developing countries like Nigeria who are always at the receiving end of different development paradigms using Anambra as the study Area.
The following are the research questions which this work hopes to provide answers to at the end of this work:
1. What is the extent to which private enterprises have contributed to rural development in Anambra state?
2. What are the challenges facing private enterprises in rural development in Anambra state?
3. What are the measures to enhance the participation of private enterprises in rural development in Anambra state?
1.3 Objectives of the Study
This work centers on establishing and unraveling the interconnectivity between private enterprises and rural development in Anambra State. Generally, development is seen as process by which man increases or maximizes his control and use of the material resources with which nature has endowed him and his environment. Rural development is a very necessary aspect of development which should be pursued the whole process of development.
Notably, private enterprises are agents of development not just in urban but in rural areas as well. These enterprises contribute in no small way to the development of the rural areas which are not densely populated. It is also characteristic of rural areas that people enjoy strong relationships and interactions which act as a strong tie that bonds them together.
However, it has the following as its objectives:
1. To ascertain the extent to which private enterprises have contributed to rural development in Anambra State.
2. To find out the challenges facing Private Enterprises in Rural Development in Anambra State.
3. To examine the measures to enhance participations of private enterprises in Rural Development in Anambra State.
1.4. Significance of the Study
The essence of research is for other people to benefit from it. In view of this, Olisakwe (2009:17) opines that a research carried out for its own sake is of no practical use to humanity hence, we try to tailor our research to meet certain basic requirements of both practical and intellectual needs as justification for the resources expended on the venture.
Therefore, this research has theoretical and empirical significance. Empirically, this study will assist in identifying more pragmatic ways of achieving rural development through the activities of private enterprises. This is because the efforts of private enterprises at achieving rural development shall be expounded on while at the same time enumerating the problems facing rural development in the country.
Theoretically, this study will serve as a source of information to scholars and students who may wish to carry out research on private enterprises and rural development generally and in Anambra state particularly.
Finally, the recommendations made at the end of this research will help the private enterprises to know the steps to follow in setting a good plan and as well help the government to know the importance of providing an enabling environment for private enterprises so that they will thrive.
1.5 Scope and Limitations of the Study
The scope of this work revolves around Anambra State. It looked into the interconnectivity between private enterprises and rural development in the area.
However, certain limitations were encountered in the course of this work. These include the following:
Firstly, the researcher was unable to cover all the local governments in Anambra State because of the large population of the state, which severely limited the representativeness of the sample.
Secondly, research requires eliciting information from respondents. At such point, researchers are expected to use a suitable medium to do so. The medium used by the researcher was interview. Here, the researcher was limited by the reluctance of some respondents to give a reliable information and it took the researcher some days before she could be able to meet the administrators that she interviewed. This limited the number of respondents involved in the study despite the researcher’s efforts and warm approaches.
Thirdly, one of the greatest challenges the researcher encountered relates to access to and collection of hard data due to extreme data gaps and paucity. There are numerous literatures on Private Enterprises and Rural Development, but none establishes interconnectivity between them. There was no literature that expounded on the contributions of private enterprises to rural development in Nigeria, let alone Anambra State. Most of the rural private sectors don’t keep accurate data, the information given to the researcher are based on their own speculations. This made it difficult ascertaining how far private enterprises have contributed in the development of rural areas.